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This article comes from my collection on Acting – there are a few of these, written from 2005 to 2007. Enjoy.
Audition Survival Guide
Dateline: January 2007
by Sally McLean.
Auditions. Interviews. Public speaking. Anything that involves putting yourself on the line, usually creates a sense of mild (if not extreme) panic and anxiety.
Here are some suggestions to make the audition process a little less nerve-wracking, with a view to you presenting yourself in the best light possible.
AS SOON AS YOU KNOW YOU HAVE AN AUDITION BOOKED:
Prepare, prepare, prepare!!! Research, research, research!!!
Learn your piece by heart. Do your characterization work. If you can choose your own piece, make sure you know it inside out. The one thing a director is bound to do, is ask you to do it several different ways, and you won’t help yourself if you are struggling to remember the lines. Also you don’t want to go forgetting lines in the middle of it.
If it’s a piece set by the director, make sure you get a copy of it ASAP and learn it by heart – for the same reasons outlined above.
Even if you are requested to not learn the piece beforehand (this does happen), at least be EXTREMELY familiar with it and still do your research. The reason they’re asking you to not learn it is that they’re looking for spontaneity in your performance and how well your instincts work as an actor. This doesn’t always work (and in my case, with a photographic memory, can prove to be a challenge as I only have to read a scene a few times to have it memorized), and usually if they truly want spontaneity and see your instinct at work they will ask you to do a cold read on the day.